Taking pictures of live bands
I have been taking pictures of a band with the Nikon Coolpix 3100. I am not at all pleased with the color. I have tried just about every setting. I would like more color to come in, and I have tried not using flash and different exposure settings, but then the subjects are blurred. Do I need a better camera or does anyone have any suggestions?..

Comments (11)

If your pictures are blurred, then you need a camera that will allow more light in, thereby giving you the opportunity to increase your shutter speeds (assuming you have already increased the ISO). Your camera is f2.8-4.9, which isn't particularly fast, especially if you are shooting at the high end of the zoom. Going to a Panasonic FZ series camera will give you a zoom that is f2.8 across the entire zoom range. If that doesn't help, then your only option is to move up to a digital slr. If you can use flash and can get to within 20-25 feet, then you could get an accessory flash and mount it and the camera on an "L" bracket. An accessory flash will reach much further than the flash in the camera.

This happens when brightly illuminated subjects are surrounded by a dim stage. The camera meters for the overall scene which is dark, instead of the brightly lit subjects. Use spot-meter capability, if you have it. PhilR...

Comment #1

Wow this is my major pic taking environment too. I have a Sony P-10 and have a love/ hate relationship with this camera. Maybe it was the wrong choice for this environment... I am open to suggestions..

As a still camera, it takes great video... but with the flashing lights on stage, the auto focus gets very confused and takes forever. The artist will have crossed the stage by the time the pic is captured. I just try to keep the camera trained on the movement and hope for the best. Catching someone leaping or planing a shot in general is nearly impossible. There doesn't seem to be a preset manual setting for action in the dark environment.

As long as there is SOME light on the subjects, that usually works out fine. But the lag time taking a picture drives me up a wall. Any suggestions?..

Comment #2

Stage action will be difficult with simpler cameras. Part of the problem is trying to follow fast moing action. It's hard for the shooter to keep the camera on the action and for the camera to stay up with focus and exposure under those conditions. If you can find and set a manual setting that works, you may find that you do better sticking with that. Color can be a problem because of the different lights fooling the white balance or the need for higher isos resulting in noisy shots...

Comment #3

Thanks for the input Craig. I'll be going to another concert this weekend. What type of settings should I try most? If I do upgrade, any suggestions for a better camera to try?..

Comment #4

A suggestion: the 3100 does not offer the option of manual focus, so you're left relying on the automatic function under lots of quickly changing conditions.

  If you buy another camera, next time get one with the option for manual focus; you probably won't be able to focus properly through the electronic viewfinder, but if you can estimate the distance to the stage, set the focus scale for that distance and try shooting. It will remove at least one time-taking element from the picture-taking process.

  Also remember: these things take lots of practice; shoot lots of photos at various settings, study the results, and don't expect miracles without some hard work.

  Good luck...

Comment #5

I'd agree that a camera with "manual" settings for focus and exposure wuld be handy. At least, one that gives the option for focus lock or prefocus. Then you can focus on a particluar point or person and catch them as they come back to the same point or try for a "zone" or estimated distance. Exposure controls could be handled the same way. Find a shot that looks right from an exposure standpoint and duplicate it with manual settings. Likewise experiment with bracketing...

Comment #6

Thanks for all the help. This weekend I was too far from the stage to get anything good anyway and ended up just taking video clips that captured the ambience. I am Seriously looking into getting a digital SLR... My husband used to have a passion for photography before I met him... then lost interest. Maybe he was afraid I'd break his equipment as a subject.....

I am thinking if we got some really good equipment maybe he could teach our daughter some of his skills. -Quality father daughter time... If this is a priority we could afford it and he has given it his ok.... We are looking at this as an investment in her and developing her skills and interest. She is 16 1/2...

Comment #7

Hi again,.

  Just have to share. I took the plunge and got a digital SLR - the Nikon D-70 and love it. When I held it in my hands in the store and clicked the shutter release I almost cried from the response! I have so much to learn and am looking forward to what I will be able to do with this camera, but even as a beginner I had great success. We went to 2 concerts this weekend. My husband was at the first one and we were up against the stage. I let him use the camera and he got amazing shots using the portrait mode.

I am only 5'1" so there was no chance of using the veiwfinder and getting anything. I ended up holding the camera over my head and directing the lens the right way. With digital there was no expense of wasted film and I had a 1 gig card so I had plenty of memory to waste.. but I got some great shots that way too. I will unfortunately have a few months to get more familiar with my camera before the next show...

Comment #8

Pictures I attached above didn't show up.

Am trying again here. Attachments:.

Brian jump copy.jpg..

Comment #9

I guess it can only take one. This one is an over my head shot. Attachments:.

Evan and Jordan.jpg..

Comment #10

Digicams are definitely up against noise and focus and speed/responsivity issues. I'd prefer something with hands-on manual focus (and zoom too, for that matter). And nothing without gain-up on the LCD or viewfinder, thank you. That pretty much leaves you with dSLR or maybe Konica Minolta A2 or Sony F828 or (fill in the blank with your choice)..

Comment #11

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